Just home from spending the evening hanging out with my best friend. He’s been in a funk, and now I’m in something of a (hopefully temporary) funk. In fact, it’s been kind of a crappy week all around. My grandfather is having health problems again, there are conflicts in my family right now, I’ve had no luck getting in touch with my cousin, my best friend is bummed out, I’ve been an idiot and possibly screwed up royally with another friend, the weather is crappy, and I have to interrupt the summer to get serious about some grad school stuff soon. Oh, and my father called me up yesterday utterly delighted to inform me that he was on an 11am (!!!) booze cruise.
It’s interesting how life can go from great to crappy in a heartbeat, isn’t it?
At any rate, it was with no small measure of trepidation that I headed over to my best friend’s place tonight to hang out. I was really worried that with him bummed out and me bummed out we would do more harm than good for our collective spirits. Happily, the opposite occurred. We didn’t talk at all about our problems; instead, we watched TV shows we both like and a movie. For a few hours, anyway, we just relaxed and enjoyed shutting out the rest of the world. I suppose this is one of the advantages of knowing someone for 20 years — you can rely on the other person to know when to talk and when not to. Whatever the case may be, we enjoyed each other’s company and had a nice evening. It was much needed!
Interestingly, the movie we ended up watching was the Dark Knight. I had only seen it once before when it came out in theaters. I was one of the few people who didn’t like it. I thought it was melodramatic and underdeveloped. I thought the dialogue was woefully juvenile in some spots. I also thought it took itself way too seriously. But after having discussed the film with several friends over the years, I decided the time was finally right to give it another shot. Jeff was game, so give it another shot I did.
To me, Dark Knight remains overly melodramatic, occasionally lazy by virtue of being underdeveloped in several spots, adolescent in some of the dialogue, and very full of itself. That said, it’s also far, far better than I remembered it being. Ledger is terrific as the Joker, most of the supporting cast are flawless, the action scenes are stylish (if excessive and occasionally pointless), and the exploration of nihilism is fairly satisfying. I did not love it, but I thought I had seriously undervalued it. Is it a great film? Absolutely not. But it is a good film, and it is certainly one of the better comic book film adaptations.
I feel like Christopher Nolan is a director who is stuck in “A-” territory. He’s very, very good 90% of the time in his films. But he sometimes races to the action at the expense of the invariably complicated narrative he attempts to unfold. He simply cannot control his inner-fanboy in those moments. If Nolan could ever learn to control himself and attempt to do 10 brilliant things simultaneously, rather that the 20 things he’s usually attempting, he will be able to make a truly great film. Inception, his best film, comes closer to maintaining a firmer sense of control, but he’s still not there yet. I hope that the new Batman film will be the one where he finally pulls it all together. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can do it.